Two cows or N$4 000 each for witchcraft comment

29 June 2020 | Local News

Kenya Kambowe

MUPINI



Eleven youth from Mupini village in Kavango West were this past Friday fined two cows or N$4 000 each by the Mbunza Traditional Authority after they were found guilty of making derogatory comments on WhatsApp. Among the messages accused the local headwoman of witchcraft.

Mupini headwoman Frieda Neromba bore the brunt of the comments on the youth development WhatsApp group called Mupini Village Matters, which has 123 members.

On of the youth accused Neromba of practicing witchcraft on the group, which was formed on 26 May, and is advocating for development in the community.

Frustrations

The fines were initially expected to be paid today, however, Mbunza Traditional Authority chief, Alfons Kaundu, explained that customary law stipulates that a fine should be paid within 14 days, which can be extended after negotiations between the parties involved.





Namibian Sun has learnt that the issue stems from frustrations among Mupini youth, who are against sand mining activities taking place at the village. Kavango East governor Bonifatius Wakudumo is currently conducting sand mining activities in the floodplains near the Okavango River at the village.

The group, represented by Ausiku Mbamba and Siwoko Reino, who are also among those fined, on Saturday told Namibian Sun their fines were as a result of speaking out against the unfair and illegal activities happening at their village.

The group, who questioned how Wakudumo got permission to mine sand and how the community is benefitting, were referred to Neromba for answers.

Mbamba said several attempts to get answers from Neromba proved futile, until 21 June, when she met with the young community members.

Another meeting was scheduled for last Wednesday, however, hours before the meeting, one of the WhatsApp group members posted a message, which was later shared with Neromba. “Today the headwoman will hear my anger through my mouth. If there is witchcraft, I can be witched,” the message read.

Mbamba and Reino said they will not pay their fines, claiming innocence and that the traditional court trial was unfair.

They also questioned why they were all fined while the person who posted the message admitted guilt.

“We were not given a chance to defend ourselves, apart from being asked leading questions. We are also not happy that the complainant was part of the adjudicating panel. We were forced to accept the charges and pay the fines,” the duo said.

When approached for comment, Neromba said she is still hurt over what happened, and refused to comment further.

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